I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Choose To Be Happy

When I visited my native country Colombia, I expected to find my city in shambles, people living in armored houses peeking out of their bullet proof windows to the menacing world outside their homes.

The media had shown me what they experience day after day and the kind of lives they were forced to live. I had seen on Television the barefoot children running in the dirt roads and the men and women walking back to their cardboard houses.

 I brought my cannon camera with hesitation anticipating at some point to be forced to give it up at gun point.  

My first meal was in a small restaurant.  The staff was friendly, the place neat and modern, the customers happy. I drove around the neighborhoods noticing the extraordinary architecture and the wide avenues with cars of all types and sizes. Clean, beautiful parks, where on weekends local artists display their art in free exhibits, were abundant. Couples, families - young and old - strolled along enjoying the perfect weather on a Sunday afternoon in Cali. 

In the following days I visited museums, churches, malls, and former high school friends now married and gainfully employed. I kept waiting for the tragic stories, the burnt buildings, the shattered glass, but they never came during my stay not because they did not exist, but because people choose to enjoy the good that surrounds them and refuse to let exceptions rule their lives.  

During my stay, what impacted me was their happy demeanor, their friendly attitude. Each person was proud of the place they called home. They spoke with enthusiasm about their soccer teams; shared the best places to visit, many of them economically reachable to everyone. They enjoyed life. 

Of that visit, I learned that we cannot allow adversities to dictate our lives and that in spite of the bad that exist, the choice to enjoy life is only ours. In that trip I kept with me their wisdom, and also my camera.